Surely more than once you have heard some of these Argentine expressions, but you had no idea what their meaning is. So that you know a little more about the words used in this diverse country, we offer you a selection of typical Argentine phrases and practical examples .
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Typical Argentine expressions
With these phrases you could travel to Buenos Aires and find out practically everything. However, first we must make an important clarification : Argentines do not use the word to take in the sense of grabbing something, but for them it has sexual connotations, so do not make the mistake of “taking the bus”. 1. Che, boludo
Argentines use this expression constantly, to the point that the phrase has been adopted in other Spanish-speaking countries. It is divided into two parts: the “che” is used to attract the attention of the interlocutor , while “boludo” is a softened insult that can be used in a relaxed environment.
“Hey, idiot, I haven’t seen you for a long time.”2. They cut off my legs
In the country of soccer and Maradona, an Argentine expression that made reference to this sport could not be missing. During the 1994 World Cup in the United States, Maradona tested positive for doping and had to withdraw. Later he would blurt out to the press this phrase that Argentines today use for any situation that seems unfair to them .
“I failed the exam. My legs were cut off.” 3. Wanting the pig and the twenty.
A very strange Argentine phrase that has the following explanation: the chancha refers to a sow, which rarely has twenty offspring throughout its fertile life. So it would be asking too much.. More elements can be added to the sentence to express the impossible character of a wish.
“You are a jerk. You want the pig, the twenty and the sausage making machine”. 4. Hang me
There are a few Argentine expressions to make excuses and one of the most popular and used is this. The phrase can come to mind when we completely forget something and later remember it, or to fire someone very annoying when we are in a hurry.
“I had to do my homework but it hung up on me”. 5. Put on the cap
This expression comes in handy when someone acts like a spoilsport, with a serious attitude inappropriate to the situation. Instead of being boring, Argentines say that someone “has put on his hat.”
“Did you see how serious Victor
is, he already put on his hat…” 6. Looking for the cat’s fifth leg
It’s curious, because in many Spanish-speaking countries the cat is referred to when someone is looking for a non-existent argument or is always complicating life . It is one of the most used expressions, and it is that the Argentines (say) that they are complicated people.
“It’s simpler than all that, stop looking for the cat’s fifth leg.” 7. Be up to your hands When someone is too busy , they don’t have much choice to use their hands for something else, hence this typical Argentine phrase.
“I can not anymore. I’m up to my hands in work.”
Now, there is also another meaning for this expression, and it is used when someone is very involved in a situation .
“I’m up to my hands with this mine, very much in love.” 8. Pegar un tubazo
The phrase does not mean hitting someone on the head with a tube glass (it would be too explicit), but it refers to calling by phone or Internet.
“Hit me a pipe when you get home, so I’ll know you’ve arrived.” 9. Do something Cayetano
Although the origin of this phrase is not clear (perhaps it refers to some saint) the truth is that when an Argentine wants to do something without anyone knowing, does Cayetano.
“I left Cayetano because I didn’t want to say goodbye.” 10. Ser Gardel
This phrase is used when one is fine as it is and does not need anything else. Indeed, it refers to the famous tango composer.
“Bring me a beer and I’m already Gardel”. 11. Missing a couple of players
Another Argentine expression that refers to soccer. In this case, it is used to refer to someone who is crazy or acts as if he is not too sane.
“I jump out of the moving car. It looks like he’s missing a couple of players on the pitch.” 12. Mount a quilombo When a good mess is madewe can say that a quilombo has been armed. The term arises from the concentrations of colored slaves in places with water sources. Usually altercations arose, giving rise to this expression.
“There was a big mess at work when the boss fired him.” 13. Skipping the thermal When someone loses control or acts very effusively, Argentines say that “the thermal has been skipped.” Lose the papers.
“Diego skipped the thermal and made a fool of himself in the box.” 14. Throw the greyhounds
In Spain we use the expression “throw the junk” when we try to seduce someone explicitly. In Argentina the thing does not change too much.
“Throw the Gauls at that mine.”15. Never taxi
Another of the most curious expressions, which defines something that is almost new , that has not suffered wear and tear. We do not imagine why the taxi is referred to.
“I leave you the mobile for 200 euros. Look at it. Never taxi”. 16. Tomatelas
Curiously, it is the equivalent of “go away” or “go away” , in the most imperative sense.
“I don’t want to see you anymore, take them.” Funny Argentine expressions
Now let’s go with those expressions that can be more shocking. The first three refer to the fart, although not in the way you think. The other three are quite ordinary, but in all dialects we have such phrases. 17. Fart
The first of these funny Argentine phrases is to specify when something is in vain or has not been of any use.
“I did the exam to fart” 18. From fart
Depending on the preposition that we put to the “fart”, the expression completely changes its meaning. On this occasion, it serves to define a coincidence .
“I was approved of fart.” 19. Not even fart
As you can imagine, this phrase is the equivalent of “in no way” .
“Not even in fart did I think that the teacher would have mercy on me.” 20. La concha de la lora
This expression is not exclusive to Argentines, since it is used in other Latin American countries, however they make it useful forexpress anger, annoyance, or surprise .
“The shell of the parrot, how hot it is here.”
If you plan to travel to Argentina take note of these phrases. | Image by: Jorge Zapata / Unsplash. 21. La loma del orto
One of the most unpleasant Argentine expressions that, as in many other cases, refers to the butt. “La loma del orto” expresses a very distant distance , although we can also find the softened version “la loma del culo”.
“I went to the hill of the orto to avoid going through a traffic jam.” 22. Break the balls
You will hear this rude phrase from an Argentine when he is fed up . With what we have learned so far, we can form the following sentence;
“Don’t break my balls anymore and get out. Tomatelas until the hill of the orto”. Other typical Argentine words
Finally, we leave you with some words that, although by themselves do not form a typical compound expression, are used regularly. 23. Mina
Colloquial way of calling a woman , usually young.
“Look at that mine! How beautiful she is”. 24. Laburo
“Laburo” is work and, as you have guessed, its verb is “laburar”.
“I’m late for work, I hung up.” 25. Fuck
As we have pointed out before, it means to have sexual relationswith someone. That is why a Latin American can be very surprised when in Spain we take everything. 26. Pibe
Colloquial way of calling a man , the same as “che”.
“That kid is a friend of mine.” 27. Bondi
If you go through Argentina, you may move in “bondi”, a word that is used to define the bus line .
“You have to take the bondi to line 6, which is on foot on the hill of the ass”. 28. Changa
“Changa” means a temporary job , such as an hourly job or an arrangement with an acquaintance.
“I did a job for him by repairing the sink, but I didn’t charge the kid anything.” 29. Jet
Although depending on the context it also refers to the outflow of water, a “jet” is a colloquial way of calling a thief .
“A jet entered the house and took my jewelry. The shell of the parrot!”. 30. Embole
A quite ordinary expression, although widely used, to pejoratively define someone boring .
“He put on his cap and did not open his mouth the entire time. What a mess”.
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Gobello, J. (1999) New Dictionary of Lunfardo. Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Dictionary of the Argentine Academy of Letters.